A Weekend for 2 Nations to Celebrate

400th anniversary of Quebec City offers chance to reflect: historian
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 7:39 AM CDT
In this file photo from Oct. 23, 2003, the Chateau Frontenac rises above the fortified walls of Quebec City, Quebec.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – Tomorrow is Independence Day, but north of the border today marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, the first settlement of New France and one of the oldest cities in Canada. David Hackett Fischer, a historian writing in the New York Times, uses the occasion to explore a different vision of North America, one predicated not on freedom, but on diversity and exchange.

Samuel de Champlain, the founder of what's now Quebec, was horrified by the violence and exploitation of Spanish colonists, and wanted his New France to be different. He made informal alliances with multiple Indian tribes that endured for generations; Frenchmen and natives lived side-by-side in "amity and concord." As much as Jefferson, Champlain's vision of humanity, exploration, and tolerance should inspire all North Americans this week.